In more evidence of continuing troubles in the chip-equipment industry, the book-to-bill ratio in October slid for the fifth month in a row.
The ratio for semiconductor capital equipment fell to 0.73 from September's revised figure of 0.80, according to SEMI, an industry trade group. The ratio means that $73 worth of new orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month.
Bookings dipped 8% from September levels to $766 million in October, based on a three-month average. Orders remain 19% above last year's levels.
In a prepared statement, SEMI CEO Stanley Myers said, "While there are indications that capacity has been added throughout the current downturn at leading-edge fabs, broader-based capacity expansion has been on hold. This trend will continue into 2003 until semiconductor manufacturers have stronger signals regarding the outlook for chip demand."